The Freedom of Arminianism
The Arminians claim that faith is a free and responsible act of man; it cannot be caused by God. Faith essentially comes about independently of God. Subsequently, man can choose if he will be saved or not, and God’s decrees have been determined by what He foresaw to be man’s actions. They conclude that the ability to believe must be universal. Every man has the innate freedom and ability to come to saving faith if he so desires in order to prove that God is a just God.
Man’s faith, according to the Arminian logic, is his gift to God, rather than God’s gift to man. The real cause of salvation is the sinner’s choice of Christ, not God’s choice of the sinner. His salvation depends on his acceptance of (his decision to accept) the work of Christ, not on his being made acceptable through the work of Christ. Ephesians 1:6 clearly gives all praise to God for His grace, “by which he hath made us accepted in the Beloved (Christ).”
Christ’s sacrifice, the Arminian alleges, made it possible for all men to be saved, but is effective only if man chooses to accept it. If no man accepts it, then the death of Christ was all in vain. His sacrifice did not actually remove any man’s sins, but only provided for the possibility of salvation. God would pardon sin only on the condition that man chooses to believe.
Not only is the “free will” of man wrongly elevated by the Arminian, but as a consequence, the sovereignty of God is repudiated. As long as man holds the “veto power” in himself, he is declaring himself more powerful than God. If God wants to save man and is prohibited by man’s refusal, then man becomes equal to God. If the Holy Spirit’s work of grace can be refused, then man has God at his mercy.
Unintended Consequences of Arminianism
The lamentable result of Arminianism is that it eliminates all assurance of salvation to those who now believe. Where is the comfort in a salvation that a man may lose by his own weakness? Yet, this is the logical result of this theology. If man can choose salvation by his own free will, he can also lose it by his own free will. While the Arminian does believe that God will always accept the sacrifice of Christ as the atonement for sin, he has no hope that the instrument of faith will remain with man.
If the teachings of Arminianism were true, no one would be saved, and the whole plan of God in sending His Son to save would be a total failure. This is because the Scriptures deny the ability of man to ever come to God apart from God’s own sovereign, enabling grace. And, secondly, even if man were able to accept Christ as his Savior by his own power, he could never persevere in this faith on his own and would be lost in the end.
Arminianism distorts the person of God. He is presented as a very weak and unjust God. If He wants to save all men and cannot, He is no longer Almighty. If He sent Jesus to die for the sins of all men, and then some are still lost because of their refusal to believe, then He is not able to carry out His own will. And if Jesus atoned for the sins of all men, and some are lost, then God is unjust in sending some to hell, for in doing so He is punishing them for sins that were already paid for (“double jeopardy”).
Questions to Ponder
- Explain how the system of Arminianism actually denies the atoning work of Christ?
- What are some of the terrible results of Arminian doctrines?
Blog post content is taken from Rev. Paul Treick’s book, Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism, available for purchase. It is posted here with the gracious permission of the author.